An Intersection of Drawing and Sculpture

One of the aspects of being an artist that I really enjoy is the surprises that occur within the creative process that you can never predict.  When I started this series of drawings of elderly figures, I never anticipated that these drawings would eventually become so sculptural. I have a lot of experience in figure modeling and casting, but I still consider myself to be largely an artist who works in two-dimensional media.  This project is an exception in that I’ve been able to combine sculptural qualities directly into the context of drawing.

Graphite Drawing on Tissue Paper by RISD Adjunct Professor Clara Lieu

ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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“Should We Protect Arts Education?” in Education Week

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by Clara Lieu

I recently wrote a guest blog post for the Leadership 360 blog in Education Week titled “Should We Protect Art Education?” Thanks to Jill Berkowicz, and Ann Myers for inviting me!

The article talks about my work with students in the RISD undergraduate program and RISD Project Open Door.  Working in such contrasting programs (one a degree program, one a free community outreach program) has led me to believe that the vast majority of the time, art education is a simple matter of access.  In my opinion, it shouldn’t be that way, which is why Art Prof is an important initiative towards equalizing access to high quality arts education.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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Anticipating a New Drawing Project

ART PROF Teaching Assistant Casey Roonan and Prof Clara Lieu

Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Assistant Casey Roonan


Now that our Kickstarter is over, we are entering a new phase here at Art Prof. While we prepare for our launch, we’ll keep releasing new Crit Quickies on our Instagram, new interactive video critiques and tutorials on our Youtube channel, and also blogging regularly here. For many years, this blog was written only by Clara Lieu. In this new phase, our 6 Teaching Assistants will start contributing blog posts.  We hope you enjoy getting to know all of us in the near future!

Rodin Sculpture

Rodin, The Helmet Maker’s Wife


by Clara Lieu

I’m just now starting to “recover” from running the Kickstarter campaign. I know that I have a monumental work ethic, but this campaign pushed the limits of that. This was definitely the most intense amount of work I have ever done since my freshman year at RISD-except that now I have a family to take care of and a full-time job.

So today I had my first day off in months, I went swimming for the first time this summer. You would think on a day off I wouldn’t want to think about work, but I did.  Not Art Prof, but my own studio practice, which has not been active for 2 years while I developed Art Prof. As I floated on my back in the water, I started anticipating a drawing project I first thought of back in June. The project is going to be drawings of elderly nudes.  When you consider art history, the elderly nude is rarely portrayed.  The only pieces from art history that come to mind are The Helmet Maker’s Wife by Rodin, (see above) and the Old Market Woman from Hellenistic Greece. You can read more about my inspiration for this project here.

I set up a time to work with an artist model next week, which got me really excited to start considering how these drawings might come together.  A huge part of my practice has always been a long, comprehensive search for the right materials to match the project.  I am sure this project will be no different.  My first thought was graphite, which struck me as odd because out of all the drawing materials out there, graphite is probably my least favorite drawing material. However, in order to show the textures and surfaces of an elderly figure, I’ll need a drawing material that can achieve a high amount of detail and refinement.

Actually, what takes much longer for me to determine is the drawing surface. I want the drawing surface to be slightly translucent and also quite thin and frail.  Perhaps tracing paper, tissue paper, or even a thin fabric like silk could be really interesting to draw on. In the past, all of my two-dimensional work has been the traditional rectangle shape, but I like the idea of torn edges or even fabric with frayed edges so that the drawing is an irregular shape. Just thinking about doing some small studies on these various drawing surfaces is wonderful, I can’t wait to get started.

Clara Lieu, Portrait of Pearl, pencil drawing

A pencil drawing of Pearl I did when I was a senior at RISD in 1998.  Pearl was an artist model when I was a student.  She was 85 years old at the time, and was incredible to draw. Pearl is one of reasons I want to make these drawings.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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ART PROF Teaching Assistant: Yves-Olivier Mandereau

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Our ART PROF staff likes to laugh about our initial impressions of each other. Sometimes those first impressions were perfectly accurate, and other times they were totally off.  Yves-Olivier Mandereau, one of the ART PROF Teaching Assistants, was no exception to these extremes. I didn’t know this at the time, but Yves told me later that when he entered my freshman drawing class at RISD back in the fall of 2011, that he was terrified. The majority of his work prior to art school had been in three-dimensional media, and he felt at the time that he really didn’t know a thing about drawing.

Whereas many students would have allowed themselves to be paralyzed by their lack of experience, Yves quickly accepted his limited background in drawing. Despite being out of his element in a drawing class, Yves was extremely tenacious and willing to take on anything. Yves is one of the most determined students I’ve ever had in my classes, he had an iron will and drive that I rarely see in students at that stage in college.

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A group critique in my class from 2011. Yves is on the right,  in the default state of most RISD freshman. Annie Irwin, another ART PROF Teaching Assistant is on the right in the front.


In group critiques, Yves distinguished himself with his candid, honest comments which were articulate and straightforward.  When students enter art school, most of them have very little experience speaking during a group critique, and it can be highly intimidating to talk about your work in front of the entire class. Yves was critical to his class because he helped establish a level of seriousness in our discussions that fostered mutual respect and honesty among his peers.

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Yves’ very first homework drawing he did in my freshman drawing class in 2011


Later, Yves was a TA for my RISD Project Open Door class, and we reconnected again a month before he graduated in 2015. I visited his ceramics studio and was surprised to see him making figurative ceramic sculpture(see below)-nothing remotely like anything he was making when he was in my class. Having a background in figurative sculpture myself, it was so great to see how he eventually found his way towards that path.  The changes and progression over the course of art school are usually quite dramatic.  Five years ago, Yves came into his first art school critique in my class with a drawing of a seed pod. (above) Today, he’s doing an artist residency at Zentrum Fur Keramik in Berlin, Germany.

Yves2

“As a kid I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. I think I didn’t know because no one allowed me to consider a career in the arts. In middle school, I always had the most fun in art class, yet art was never really considered a legitimate pursuit like science and athletics.

I was first exposed to ceramics in an “Art 1” class, where I learned watercolor and acrylic painting. I was hooked but didn’t see any way to deepen my exploration. My art teachers let me stay and work during lunch, but I was essentially on my own. I worked on the pottery wheel but was just making lots of little cups because that’s what I knew how to make.

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The summer after my junior year in high school, I attended the Pre-College Program at RISD, a six-week summer art program for high school students. I saved up all the money I could from busing tables and working for a catering company. The program was beyond anything I could have imagined. The intensity and depth of the classes were addictive. When the program ended, I said to myself, “I don’t want this to end.” That’s when I knew I had to pursue visual art seriously.

Having experienced the value of a quality visual art education, I have committed myself to encouraging and helping others pursue their passion. That’s why I’m here, to help other students experience a broader art education independent of school systems where visual arts aren’t supported.”

Visit Yves’ website here. (mature content)

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ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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ART PROF: Visual Art Essentials with Clara Lieu

ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts.
Learn visual arts in a vibrant community for people of all ages.


Visual artist and RISD Adjunct Professor Clara Lieu has partnered with Thomas Lerra from WGBH Boston and a team of 6 Teaching Assistants and 10 Interns to create a free, online educational platform for the visual arts.

Clara Lieu, Visual Artist & Adjunct Professor at RISD    Thomas Lerra, WGBH Digital


Mission
In most schools, visual arts education is meager or simply does not exist.  Outside art programs are not affordable for most people, and are primarily isolated to higher education institutions.  ART PROF provides the chance for a global community to access to a high quality visual arts education for free.  People of all ages can learn visual arts at their own pace through ART PROF.


Now we need help from YOU to make ART PROF free for all.
Make a donation today !
We have many donor rewards, even the smallest donation makes a difference!

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Site Features
visual encyclopedia of art supplies • short-form video lessons in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture interactive video critiques • trusted advice from the Art Prof and Teaching Assistants  assignments & lesson plans • professional development resources • diverse artist community • audio critiques of user artwork   galleries for user artwork • contemporary art & art history

Preview of some of our site features by looking at our Crit Quickies, Audio Critique PacksPortfolio Video Critiques and Ask the Art Prof


Stay tuned by subscribing to our email list.

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Contact

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Want to become a sponsor or advertiser?

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Teaching Assistants
square_Sara  square_Casey  square_Annie  square_Lauryn  square_yves  square_Alex
Sara BloemCasey Roonan  •  Annie Irwin
Lauryn Welch •  Yves-Olivier Mandereau  •  Alex Rowe

Our experienced team of teaching assistants are emerging artists who work in a diverse range of fields:  textiles, illustration, painting, drawing, comics, sculpture, installation, ceramics, and more. Teaching assistants will review user artwork submissions, do audio critiques of user artworks, and respond to your questions with professional advice in our interactive audio forums.

Interns
Anna   Makoto   Annelise   Enrico   Janice
Julia   crit_Vuthy   Olivia Hunter, Intern   Jordan McCracken-Foster, Intern   Tatiana Florival, Intern

Anna Campbell • Makoto KumasakaAnnelise YeeEnrico Giori • Janice Chun • Julia Orenstein • Vuthy LayOlivia Hunter
Jordan McCracken-Foster •  Tatiana Florival

Our interns are current art school students who brainstorm ideas, enhance site content, and develop outreach strategies. Their majors include architecture, printmaking, furniture design, jewelry, drawing, painting, graphic design and more.


ART PROF is a personal undertaking by Clara Lieu and Thomas Lerra that is not supported, sponsored, or endorsed by the Rhode Island School of Design or WGBH.

A Burst of Artistic Inspiration for the First Time in 2 Years

Trustman Gallery at Simmons College

I’ve been absolutely consumed with my art education project that is being announced June 14, (subscribe to my email list if you want to know what it is!) so for the past 2 years, I haven’t produced a single piece of artwork.  In 2014, I had simultaneous solo exhibitions at the Trustman Gallery at Simmons College and the Mazmanian Gallery at Framingham State University of works from “Falling“, a series of drawings, prints, and sculpture I worked on from 2010-2014 that explored my personal experience with depression.  I was so stressed out from the year leading up to those exhibitions that consequently, I lost my drive to continue producing artwork.  I knew this was a serious plateau I had reached because I knew that no matter what project I did next, it would be absolutely nothing like my previous projects, (Wading, Waiting, and Digging) all of which followed relatively similar paths.

I’m absolutely floored by this complete halt of creating artwork, and that it’s lasted 2 years.  I was initially horrified that I had no motivation to make artwork-there’s nothing more terrifying than feeling the drive you’ve devoted your entire life to drain away from your mind and body. Then my art education project started to take off, and my passion directed itself elsewhere in a new and different form.  At that point, I stopped feeling guilty about not making artwork the way I had in the past, got really excited about the possibilities for my art education project.

But then,  just a few hours ago, an idea for a series of drawings slapped me in the face, really hard. I felt the first explosion of passion and inspiration that I haven’t felt in 2 years. Simply put, I want to create a series of nude drawings of the elderly. When I think about it, there are so few images of elderly nudes in history, the only two that are prominent are the “Old Market Woman” sculpture from Hellenistic Greece, and Rodin’s The Helmut Maker’s Wife.” There are also 3 major sources of inspiration I can point to for this project idea:

  1. Atul Gawande’s book “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Happens in the End”
  2. Roz Chast’s memoir “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”
  3. Pearl, an 85 year old artist model who worked at RISD when I was a student.

Gawande and Chast’s books were fundamentally about the same subject of aging, but were incredibly different in terms of both the articulation of the subject and their point of view, Gawande as a doctor, Chast as a cartoonist. I found both books absolutely riveting and remember reading Chast’s book back to back in one sitting.  In Chast’s book, there’s a section where she explains that in the moments immediately after her mother passed away, she says “I didn’t know what to do, so I drew her.”  Chast’s drawings of her mother were some of the most intimate, powerful drawings I’ve ever seen and I found myself emotionally moved by her drawings in a way that I rarely experience.

reclining_pearl

This drawing of the artist model Pearl reclining is one of my favorite drawings I did my senior year at RISD. I have no idea why she put a tissue over her eyes that day when she was posing in class, but it made for a striking set up that no longer looked like a drawing class exercise. Drawing Pearl was an extraordinary experience. Because she was 85 years old, the physical aspects of her body were like nothing I had ever seen before, the sagging and stretching of her tendons and muscles, the texture of her skin, and her awkward physical movements were completely mesmerizing. She would sit in a chair for literally 4 hours straight.  Every now and then, her head would drop down, as if she had fallen asleep, and then 20 minutes later, she would slowly bring her head back up in to the exact same position she had been posing in.

pearl

With my major project coming June 14, there’s no way this project is going to start even within a few months.  However, already, my mind is racing about all of the possibilities, and I like the idea of letting a project concept simmer slowly in my head over a long period of time before starting. I can imagine already there are going to be major logistical hurdles I will have to clear in terms of finding people who are willing to participate in a project like this, but that’s exactly why it’s good for this project idea to sit in my head for a few months before I take any action.

A sculpture of Pearl I sculpted based on my memory of her figure in 2002.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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Ask the Art Prof Live # 7: How do I Improve My Art? How do I find My Artistic Style?

0:26
Other than “keep practicing,” how do I improve my art?

01:53
Set short term and long term goals.

05:14
Recognize your automatic pilot and the plateau.

06:39
Build in periods of experimentation.


09:58
How do I find my artistic style? Related article.
Mentioned: Picasso and Cubism


11:57
Style doesn’t develop overnight. Jackson Pollock


13:34
Try everything! Be a restaurant critic and sample everything that exists.
Former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni’s memoir “Born Round
Mentioned:  mezzotint, lithography, intaglio printmaking


15:36
Make a series


16:48
Your style will keep evolving. Alberto Giacometti


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts which provides equal access to high quality art education for people of all ages and means. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter hit its $30k goal on July 19, 2016.  Get info on our early 2017 site launch by subscribing to our email list.

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Portfolio Video Critiques for Art Students & Artists
Prof Clara Lieu offers 30 minute video critiques on 8-20 artworks for students working on a portfolio for art school admission, and for artists of any age working on their artwork. Watch a sample below, and get more info here.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories, and post select submissions on our Instagram  and other sites throughout the month. Use #artprofwip and Prof Clara Lieu might just stop by and give you some feedback! We have a special prize for art teachers who assign the Art Dare to one of their classes. More info is here.


Ask the Art Prof Live was a weekly live video broadcast on our Facebook page where Prof Clara Lieu provided professional advice for art students and professional artists. Ask the Art Prof began as a written column in 2013 and was featured in the Huffington Post from 2013-2015.  See the full archive of columns here. Prof Lieu discussed being an artist today, art technique & materials, work strategies for artists, career advice, teaching art, and more.


Related Live Videos
#8: Should I do the Starving Artist Phase in New York City?
#6: Teaching High School Art, Teaching Color
#5:  Starting Art School, Avoiding Cliches
#4:  Oversaturation, Brainstorming, Beginning a Series
#3:  Personal Themes, Never Too Late to Start Drawing
#2:  Aches While Drawing, Professional Artwork vs. Student Artwork
#1:  Graduate MFA Programs